HUNTERSVILLE, NC (July 7, 2003) - Jack Sprague and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team returned to the site of their first NASCAR Winston Cup race together this weekend and finished 31st at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night. Sprague...
HUNTERSVILLE, NC (July 7, 2003) - Jack Sprague and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team returned to the site of their first NASCAR Winston Cup race together this weekend and finished 31st at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night.
Sprague posted a speed of 182.437 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile oval during his qualifying run on Thursday evening and lined up 35th on the starting grid for the Pepsi 400, the third of four restrictor plate races held this season.
Hot and humid conditions prevailed all weekend and Saturday evening was no exception. The green flag flew to start the race, and though Sprague lost several positions on the first lap, he remained patient in the 43-car draft and by Lap 20, was running in 30th. Sprague radioed to crew chief Tony Furr that the car was a little tight, but otherwise not bad.
Furr made plans to make an air pressure adjustment to the right front tire during the first pit stop, which came on Lap 35 of the 160-lap race. Following the stop, Sprague drove the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac Grand Prix back out onto the track and into a pack of seven drafting cars.
Slight contact between Sprague and the No. 77 driven by Dave Blaney brought out the first yellow flag of the evening. A series of pit stops during the caution period enabled the team to make minor repairs to the right front of the car as well as bolt on fresh Goodyear tires and fill the gas tank with 76 fuel. There is an old NASCAR saying that cautions breed cautions, and the Pepsi 400 was no exception. Five laps after the restart on Lap 69, two cars made contact, which resulted in a multi-car accident. Luckily, Sprague was able to maneuver through the melee unscathed.
The first sign of trouble came for the team following a pit stop on lap 113. While many teams opted to take on only two new tires, the NetZero HiSpeed team opted for four, which left Sprague behind the lead pack on the racetrack and in only a two car draft. A final pit stop on Lap 142 ended with almost the same result and Sprague took the checkered flag in 31st. Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Greg Biffle won the event, his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory.
"We had a decent car," commented Sprague. "We struggled with the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac in practice and Tony (Furr) and the guys put their heads together to come up with something for the race, and it worked. We were a little tight throughout the race, but it wasn't bad. Somehow we got behind after a pit stop and pretty much lost the draft. I don't know what happened, but I know we lost our drafting partners, and after that all we could do was ride around pretty much by ourselves. It was unfortunate, we had a good car."
This weekend the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team heads to Chicagoland Speedway for the running of the Tropicana 400. Qualifying for the event will take place Friday, July 11, with the drop of the green flag scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The event will be telecast live on NBC and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.